A seemingly short life characterised with glorious action, and filled with noble risks is by all intents worth more than double a long but selfish life lived in relative safety avoiding risks and without honour. When we choose not to participate in politics we give free rein to hypocrites and panderers.
Government is ourselves not an alien authority over us; to transform the prevailing Harare-led political chaos into our dream of an orderly, stable and prosperous pro-Mthwakazi politics, we must be active participants, not simply observers.
You get from politics what you put in it. Freedom is never a free commodity. No one should find political non-participation to be a bragging point; how can you be divine for dereliction of duty? To any reasonable soul, insisting on the right to ignorance and being blindly agreeable cannot be a point of prestige.
Many in Mthwakazi are growing impatient and increasingly uncomfortable with the opportunistic political tendencies rearing their heads within our political space. Career politicians are exploiting the vacant space left by observers who have made it a career of sorts to justify their nonparticipation.
We must not allow inaction to define the base of political image. Political image is a term that can be used to describe how we think and feel about our politics. We want to be comfortable in the politics presiding over us but we must not misunderstand being comfortable in a system as evidence of it being right.
There is a debilitating air of anti-intellectualism blowing through the political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that our independence will be guaranteed under the leadership of a certain group of people. Word of caution – ignorance can never be as good as knowledge.
Far from it, we need to build a political knowledge base and recognise that Mthwakazi freedom is not simply a license to do as one pleases. It is also about taking responsibility and holding oneself accountable to a greater degree for the political conditions that impact the lives of all those who inhabit our beloved political space.
Closing opportunism is our capital. There is a glaring difference between political opportunists, and those who seize an opportunity. The former is a pretender who reaps where they have not sown while the latter strategically helps plant the seeds. The latter can be an asset, the former will always be an affront to our politics.
We need be cautious and not carry opportunists up the ladder of success in our political space. The difference between a hero and an opportunist is not the position adopted, but timing. Standing up against injustice when it suits is convenience, not heroism.
After following politics in Mthwakazi, including the pro-Mthwakazi agenda, for several years, we have undoubtedly learned a lot. But, two things have stood out: 1) when people have appeared to be interested in helping the public, they have really been looking for a way to help themselves, and 2) political organisations have operated on the assumption that the interests of the community and their political party interests were one and the same.
The reality on the ground is different, political organisations have represented their interests and not always community interests. Opportunism is not the way pro-Mthwakazi politics should go. Different organisations have the right to hold opinions about the kind of Mthwakazi they want to promote but if they do not come to value what is true above what is useful, it will make little difference whether they exist at all.
Individuals or political organisations that wilfully take action that damages morale and undermines the Mthwakazi political space are saboteurs that should be denied space in the core of our political evolution.
If we are poorly organised we leave doors open for opportunists and enemies of our freedom. We are seeing saboteurs on social media coming up with an absurd political theory of Khayisaism vs Nkomoism. It does not make political sense or pro-Mthwakazi progress that Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni’s well-articulated position on a local issue, the Ntabazinduna Mountain, would be perceived as the anti-Joshua Nkomo agenda.
Our progress will not result from watching from the margins and complaining about maltreatment and malfunctioning processes. When faced by strong institutions, it is easy to accuse the opportunist individuals and groups, but as the public, we need to work hard to take control of our political space. The Mthwakazi public need to speak out and get better mobilised.
To conclude, no individual or single political entity will bring the necessary changes in Mthwakazi alone. Discourse and critical thinking will be essential tools when it comes to securing progress in the pro-Mthwakazi agenda. However, unity and engaged participation will be the only factors that will make it happen.